I think when I was 12 years old, my parents took me to a BMX event where Ryan Guettler was competing.

It was honestly the best three hours of my life at the time. 

All I could think about on the car ride home, was “This is what I want to be! I want to be just like that dude, Ryan”.

I have a cousin of mine, Justin, who raced motocross when I was younger, and I pretty much just wanted to be like him as well.

Since I was a kid, I grew up in a very humble home.

My family basically got through every working week, making just enough to pay the bills and provide for us kids.

We didn’t really have a lot of spending money. I was just that kid who just wanted to race motocross just like my cousin.

We couldn’t really afford a dirt bike, but when Justin wasn’t racing, he was building dirt jumps for his BMX bike with his friends.

I remember one weekend my parents just got sick of me and just sent me up there with my push bike and I rode around with him for about a week and that was it.

I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I didn’t know what BMX actually was at the time, I just said to myself, “I just wanna drive a pushy for the rest of my life.”

I didn’t even know it was a sport or anything, I just fell in love with it straight away.

I was pretty lucky in my era growing up when I did in BMX in Australia because the councils are very involved with the youth’s lifestyle and that was at skate parks.

Back then we had a lot of locals at a lot of skate parks that either rode bikes, scootered or they skated.

Everyone just kind of hung out together and the councils really put on a lot of events for the kids back then, so that gave us all something to look forward to when the weekends would come around.

Mum still isn’t overly stoked on the idea of me competing professionally on two wheels.

She doesn’t watch me ride at events; she just watches me on the TV or whenever one of my friends show her a video of mine on YouTube!

She never comes and watches me on Tour, so when X-Games comes to Sydney this week, it’ll be the first time ever that she’s ever seen me ride in person.

But my Dad has been there every step of the way – if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t even have gone to America to ride.

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He’s been super supportive and he’s sacrificed a lot for me to get where I am today and I’m trying to repay the favour for him for all the times he sacrificed for me.

Plus, I’m one of four and that’s pretty hard to juggle one kid’s career over my three other siblings.

My sister wanted to be a dancer but that was thrown out the window because obviously my Dad saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself.

He knew I was going to be pro before I even did. All I knew is I just wanted to ride my bike and have fun.

Obviously, I wanted to be pro too, but I had no idea where to start or how do to even start the road to being a pro.

It’s unpaid; and with BMX now it’s so different to where if you’re good at riding a bike, that doesn’t really matter anymore.

There’s so much else that goes on behind-the-scenes to becoming a pro.

So, back in the day, when I was just an amateur on the track I was just trying to get around Australia to compete in as many events as possible.

At the time, my whole family was giving up so much just to help me get from event to event; my sister gave up dancing and my younger brother loved scootering.

But the added focus from my parents, towards me, that they missed out on so much – which is why I’m giving all my success right now back to my family so they can have a taste of freedom just like I did growing up.

My Mum and Dad both know what it’s like to come up with nothing.

My Dad’s parents came from Greece, so my grandma and grandpa both came from Greece.

Greece is one of the most poorest countries in Europe and they couldn’t see a sense of life in Greece so they came to Australia to pave a better life for their kids.

My Dad grew up wanting to be a soccer player. He was a really good soccer player, and he could have gone and played for whoever in Europe, but he chose to have a family with my Mum.

So that means something, and I see why he’s so pushy with me, because he can kind of see where he could have gone but he’s doing it through me and what I love to do with BMX, instead of his first love in soccer.

There were a lot of times when the money went to waste, because I crashed at a contest. It was definitely difficult to tell them; “Hey, I failed again and again and again and again.” And then when I started doing well, that’s when their like, “Yes, finally!”.

And so the last couple of years have been amazing to see the wheel finally turning, as highlighted by my recent triumph of winning the 2018 X-Games Dirt Gold.

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Unfortunately, as bad as it sounds, BMX is really hard to hear about in Australia because of the lack of TV exposure.

That’s why I’m so stoked with X-Games Sydney coming to Australia, as it will really shine a light on the current crop of Australia’s BMX freestylers, like myself, Logan Martin, Kyle Baldock, Jake Wallwork, Jaie Toohey, Andy Buckworth.

We all own BMX right now because we’re the guys getting all the medals.

Brandon Loupos exclusive insight

We’re the guys winning every event, and holding it down. We’re the most unrecognized, not only people, but sport in our country.

When we tell someone from a show that we ride BMX, it’s almost like, “What’s BMX?” “What do you mean, you jump a bicycle for a living?” It’s just crazy.

I guess at the end of the day, we just all love riding our bikes.

And we kind of keep that same mindset like we do at the skatepark as we do at X-Games or any of the big contests.

Because you should be able to ride those events just like you ride every day back home.

Once you put yourself in a different mindset, that’s when everything goes to crap, so we all try and ride every day like we’re at the contest, so it makes the competing that much easier.

At the end of the day, it’s just you and your bike, and what you’ve been practicing.

It’s all about controlling what is in front of you, and understanding that there will also be times where factors go against you which are out of your control, much like what happened to me in Canada!

As many of my fans would know, my bike got stolen just 38 hours before this year’s X Games Dirt in Minneapolis!

And what a perfect time to have one stolen, not only right before I was there for a World Series event, because I was trying to qualify Australia into the 2020 Olympic Games for BMX Freestyle.

I was living in Raleigh, North Carolina at the time, and I was in Canada, on the west side of Canada. And I had to fly all the way back home to put my old bike back together just so I could compete at the games.

I had seven hours to put it back. To go from not having a bike, to having a fully functional bike ready to go for X-Games. I didn’t sleep that morning. It got stolen that day, from the next day I didn’t sleep cause I was just a mess. I just couldn’t believe what happened.

For us, it’s not just a tool, it’s a part of ourselves. So when someone steals something like that it’s the most gut-wrenching feeling ever.

I had to pull myself together, and go, “You know what? It’s not the end of the world. I can figure out how we’re gonna do this,” but to bounce back and to put in the performance I knew I was capable of.

I always wanted an X-Games gold medal, but it seemed so far away at the time.

Especially having my bike stolen, and all this other stuff happening, I was just like, “Well, I guess this year isn’t my year,” Because I didn’t have the best of years at the start of 2018.

I had a lot of other dramas. I pretty much gave up on that year.

So, I was going into X-Games just like, “Well, whatever happens, happens. I feel like I’m not gonna do well,” and I wasn’t expecting anything cause having a pretty rough start of the year, I was just not in that right mindset.

And then when I dropped in and did the run I wanted to do, all that just went away. I didn’t think “gold medal” when I landed, but I definitely was so excited that I just landed that run I wanted to do.

Then when I saw the 95 come up, I thought, “Who’s gonna top a 95 at X-Games?”

I couldn’t believe it! It was so rad to have my Dad there, but I would’ve loved to have my whole family there. It would’ve been that much better.

I still haven’t really celebrated with anyone, really. Because some of the people I wanted to celebrate with, are in Australia.

It didn’t feel real until I saw my Dad.

I was just holding the medal to him, and spinning the little ‘X’ thing I had on the X-Games medal, and I was just like to him, “Can you believe this? Fifteen years ago, I said I wanted this, and now I have one,” and he was just in tears, couldn’t believe it, just like I was.

I cried when they gave me the medal, and I was on TV, I was just a mess.

I appreciate X-Games doing it, not only in Australia, but in Sydney, because I was born and raised in Sydney. I moved out of Sydney earlier this year. So I’m coming back to Sydney and where I grew up. I went to school in Sydney, I started riding BMX in Sydney.

My whole life was in Sydney before I moved to America. And to come back to Australia to an event that I always wanted to ride, across the street from the skatepark that I grew up riding that burnt down last year, is the crazy feeling ever.

Plus being the defending gold medalist is something in itself.

Cause last year when they announced the dates, I was at my grandma’s funeral, and when my grandma passed away, there was a lot of emotion. But seeing those dates on that day, I was just like, “I have to get a gold there.”

And then when I got a gold in Minneapolis, I was just like, “I have to get another one.” Especially in Sydney because I’m the defending gold medalist, it’s in my backyard, my family’s gonna be there, it’s do or die.

I’m not putting a lot of pressure on myself because that’s where I’m gonna fail, but I’m gonna go there with the mindset to win. And I definitely know I can do it.